Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife FISHING RULE CHANGE
WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

January 12, 2017

Sport fishing for bottomfish to close through March 10 off the Washington coast

Action: Close recreational bottomfishing in Marine Areas 1-3 (including Marine Areas 2-1 and 2-2) and Marine Area 4 (west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line) through March 10, 2017. Reopen the coastal recreational bottomfish fishery the second Saturday in March through the third Saturday in October (March 11 through Oct. 21, 2017). The winter closure does not include surfperch when fishing from the beach.

Effective date: Immediately

Species affected: Bottomfish

Location: Marine Areas 1 through 3, including Marine Areas 2-1 (Willapa Bay) and 2-2 (Grays Harbor), and Marine Area 4 (west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line).

Reason for action: The Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted changes to the recreational bottomfish seasons along the Washington coast as part of its groundfish biennial management cycle for 2017-18. The recreational bottomfish season is currently open year round in coastal marine areas, although rough ocean conditions in winter results in minimal fishing effort from mid-October through mid-March.

This new rule changes the coastal recreational bottomfish season from a year round season to one open from the second Saturday in March through the third Saturday in October. It also aligns the recreational bottomfish season with the recreational lingcod season in Marine Areas 1-3, including Marine Areas 2-1 (Willapa Bay) and 2-2 (Grays Harbor), and preserves recreational fishing opportunity in months when there has been significant participation in the fishery (March-October).

Marine Area 4B, east of the Bonnilla-Tatoosh line, will remain open year round as some recreational fishing does occur in this area during the winter. This rule change is necessary to conform to federal action taken by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

The winter closure does not include surfperch when fishing from the beach, which will continue to be allowed year round.

Additional information: Bottomfish includes Pacific cod, Pacific tomcod, Pacific hake (or whiting), walleye pollock, all species of dabs, sole and flounders (except Pacific halibut), lingcod, ratfish, sablefish, cabezon, greenling, buffalo sculpin, great sculpin, red Irish lord, brown Irish lord, Pacific staghorn sculpin, wolfeel, giant wrymouth, plainfin midshipman, all species of shark, skate, rockfish, rattail, and surfperches (all saltwater perch are surfperch) excluding shiner perch.

Information contact: Heather Reed, (360) 902-2487

Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW "Fishing in Washington" rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360)796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.

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